China: United States: Exile for Chen Guangcheng would get US and China out of the fix

world | May 1, 2012 | By Asia News

Beijing - Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist who denounced China's forced abortions and sterilisations, might go into exile to the United States. This would allow Washington to save its economic relations with the Asian juggernaut whilst allowing Beijing to save face.

Placed under house arrest, Chen was able to escape from a house where he had been forced to live with his family, finding refuge in the US Embassy in Beijing just a few days before an important summit between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese authorities.

Bob Fu, of the China Aid Association, who has been in touch with Chen and US officials, said that a solution could be days away with Chen and his family leaving for the United States.

"Both sides want to resolve this as soon as possible," Fu said. "If China is willing to facilitate [his exit], the US is eager to resolve this."

For now, the government of the United States is silent on the matter. Neither the US Embassy in Beijing, nor US President Barack Obama have said anything. Pressured by journalists, the US leader said that he would not make a statement.

Meanwhile, Assistant US Secretary of State Kurt Campbell arrived in Beijing two days ago to settle the issue in a way to protect US economic interests, China's face and the Chens' safety.

According to dissident Hu Jia, who met Chen during his escape, the blind activist does not want to leave the country, but he does want guarantees that he will not be sent to a 'black jail' (where people are held incommunicado without trial) and that his family would not be prosecuted.

The US-China summit was originally set to tackle economic issues, such as the value of the yuan, the elimination of trade barriers on US products and Taiwan.

Now both sides are being forced to deal with the issue of human rights.

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